If you play a sport like racquetball, you understand the importance of good eye protection. Unfortunately, many people are unaware that they can injure their eyes while playing a variety of other, supposedly less dangerous sports.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) has designated April 2011 as Sports Eye Safety Month to help increase public awareness of wearing protective eyewear when participating in team sports. Protecting your eyes from injury will go a long way toward maintaining healthy vision throughout your life.
According to the AAO:
- An estimated 40,000 sports eye injuries occur every year. The majority of victims are children, many of whom suffer permanent visual impairment.
- Baseball and basketball account for the largest number of injuries among young athletes.
- Little League pitchers can achieve pitching speeds up to 70 mph. That’s fast enough to seriously damage an eye.
- In basketball, serious eye injuries caused by flying fingers and elbows can be prevented by wearing appropriate protective eyewear.
- Many other popular sports, such as tennis, soccer, football, golf, water sports, and hockey, put unprotected players at risk for serious eye injury.
Many children’s sports leagues, schools, and teams don’t require children to wear eye protection during games. If you’re a parent, be sure to set a good example by wearing eye protection whenever you play a sport, and make sure your kids wear their eye protection when they play.
Studies have shown that more than 90% of eye injuries can be prevented, simply by wearing the right protective eyewear. Specific eyewear is available for just about any activity—the experts at the Emory Eye Center can recommend the appropriate eyewear for your sport and make sure you have the right fit. If you’ve suffered an eye injury, be sure to have an ophthalmologist examine the eye as soon as possible, even if the injury seems minor.
Have you experienced an eye injury while playing a sport, or have you prevented a serious injury by wearing the appropriate eye protection? We’d like to hear about your experience. Please take a moment to give us feedback in the comments section below.